Georgetown University Covers “IHS” Symbol to Accommodate Obama

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Writer

At the request of the White House, Georgetown University (GU) covered over the monogram “IHS” which appeared over the stage where President Obama delivered a speech on Tuesday.

“In coordinating the logistical arrangements for yesterday’s event, Georgetown honored the White House staff’s request to cover all of the Georgetown University signage and symbols behind Gaston Hall stage,” Julie Green Bataille, associate vice president for communications at Georgetown, told
“The White House wanted a simple backdrop of flags and pipe and drape for the speech, consistent with what they’ve done for other policy speeches,” she added. “Frankly, the pipe and drape wasn’t high enough by itself to fully cover the IHS and cross above the GU seal and it seemed most respectful to have them covered so as not to be seen out of context.”

Georgetown, which is run by the Jesuit order, is one of the most prestigious Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States. The “IHS” monogram is an abbreviation of Jesus’ name which was adopted by Jesuit founder St. Ignatius Loyola as part of the order’s official emblem.

The symbol, which was inscribed in gold in a pediment on the stage, was covered with what appeared to be a plywood triangle painted black.

The White House did not respond to requests for comments about the incident.

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